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Project case studies

A Study of Grupa 484’s efforts in Forced Migration Work in Serbia from 1995 to present

by:
Saniah Aljunied
Post date: 05/15/2014

At its founding, Group 484’s immediate aims were to lend support to the organization of 484 refugee families that sought refuge in Serbia after the Croatian Army regained control of Krajina during “Operation Storm”. Ever since their initial efforts of extending humanitarian, legal and social integration efforts to the 484 refugee families in Serbia, Group 484 has grown to become a formalized organization with a high degree of structure in approaching issues of forced migration. Apart from working with decision makers to craft durable solutions, Group 484 also extends its scope of work to promoting tolerance toward diversity among local communities.

International Commission on the Balkans: A Case Study on the Success of the 2005 Third Report

by:
Natalie Holmes
Post date: 05/15/2014
In various respects, the mission of the International Commission on the Balkans proved successful. The document that they produced has enjoyed a long shelf-life, and is regarded as still being valid and relevant to the present situation of the Balkans. As demonstrated above, many of the recommendations were carried out in the years following—some “by the book” such as Montenegro—but some were not. In the case of Bosnia, the gravity of the situation was not recognized at the time of the report, and thus the recommendations were slighted, which in hindsight is noticed as a mistake. However, recommendation implementation was not as simple as reading the report and applying the steps discussed, and there are other external factors that have affected the ability of the Balkans to progress, whether in the style recommended by the ICB or not. Additionally, internal factors in the ICB hindered its ability to carry out its message in some areas. While it is nearly impossible to account for future external obstacles when writing a report such as that of the ICB, there were both internal administrative problems and adaptability issues from which lessons can be learnt for the future.

Women In Security: Implementation of Resolution 1325

by:
Kaitlin Fanikos
Post date: 05/09/2014

It is no secret that throughout history, to varying degrees, women have experienced disadvantages in both political and social realms of their home countries. More often than not, women’s voices have been forcibly diminished, ignored, or totally silenced in the patriarchal societies that dominated most of the modern world. Today, many of these gender inequalities have been addressed in law and substantially reduced in most industrialized and developed countries, such as the United States. The global shift in women’s rights, albeit slowly spreading in fits and starts, is arguably largely due to the rise and spread of democracy and resulting values that become ingrained into society, such as human rights, equality, and governmental transparency.

Analysis of the Bulgarian Judicial System - Combating Misperceptions and Seeking Solutions

by:
Tom Hische
Post date: 05/09/2014

In many respects, Bulgaria has been successful in its transition from a former Soviet state into an electoral democracy. Yet in spite of this success the Bulgarian people have a great amount of mistrust for their political institutions. According to Ivan Krastev, the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, the Bulgarian view of democracy can sometimes make it seem rather akin to the Human Resources department at a major corporation; the people may change, but the underlying policy remains the same. This presents a particular problem in regard to sectors that are perceived poorly by the citizenry, as there is especially strong disincentive to promoting change if the popular belief holds that the status quo is impermeable to the will of the people.

White Schengen List Case Study

by:
Andrew Rich
Post date: 04/03/2014

Grupa 484 used its past experiences in the Western Balkans to formulate a project focused on increasing awareness on the issue of visa liberalization in the region. The project sought to educate the public and shareholders in the included countries and national and international organizations.

Evaluation of Group 484's Initiative, “Towards the White Schengen List”

by:
Lizzy Ramey
Post date: 04/01/2014

Group 484 is a non-governmental organization founded by Jelena Santic in 1995 to support the 484 refugee families that had fled their home country, Krajina, during Operation “Storm” led by Croatian Army and were seeking safety in Serbia. The organization started as primarily a group of “enthusiasts who provided humanitarian, psychosocial, legal and informative assistance to refugees,” to displaced persons in the Balkans and has grown into a highly regarded and dependable center for education and research about forced migration and refugee studies. Part of Group 484's mission is to work with and empower local communities, youth, and to respect and encourage diversity among peoples.

Young Political Leaders: Youth Political Participation

by:
Thomas Antony
Post date: 04/01/2014

This case study looks at the effectiveness of two programs spearheaded by the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE) in promoting the increase of youth political participation within Serbia. The two major projects launched were the multiyear Five Hundred Young Political Leaders of Serbia 2004 – 2008 with an analysis of the 2006/2007 cycle and the Increasing Participation Through Education: Training Young Leaders of Serbia in Democracy and European Affairs in 2010, the later building on from the efforts of the former.

Young Political Leaders: Issues in Democracy Promotion

by:
Sumra Ahmad
Post date: 03/28/2014

Following the Serbian revolution in 2000, political instability remained a huge concern. Tension remained high among differing political parties and there seemed to be lack of unity in the political state. This case study takes a look at the efforts taken by Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), a non-profit organization, in order to reduce this tension and promote engagement and collaboration among political parties. The title of their project was Five Hundred Political Leaders of Serbia. From the years 2004-2008, BFPE hoped to provide political training to 500 young political leaders in order to achieve their objective. Through the application of various seminars, BFPE’s goal was to target the youth belonging to diverse political parties and teach them the necessary skills to live politically active lives that would later encourage better understanding among party lines. By encouraging youth participation in the political realm this would create dialogue and constant cooperation among differing groups. This cooperation would help build harmony among the critical political and social issues facing the Serbian state and society.

International Commission on the Balkans

by:
Michele Flom
Post date: 03/28/2014

The Third International Commission on the Balkans was established in the early 2000s when several educational mission teams were sent to the region to acquire data and talk to local citizens about their thoughts and attitudes of the post-war era. These teams, along with prominent political figures and activists from across the Europe, the Balkans, and the US, took the acquired information from these missions to create policy recommendations directed to the EU, the US, and the Balkan countries themselves for creating a plan of EU accession. This idea of EU succession is a beacon of hope in the region to the citizens and their governments alike, and most understand that membership will be the defining factor for long-standing peace. Although there are some that believe “status quo” is the best plan in the Balkan region because they have been able to remain peaceful for this long, nevertheless, the commission urges the necessity of action because the region still rests on “weak feet”. The report says that, “reform processes are hindered by the legacy of the past: immense structural challenges, constitutional problems, open status issues, a dire economic situation, and political instability” (ICoB report 3).

Bringing Diverse History into Our Schools

by:
Simone Ford
Post date: 03/28/2014

In conflict-affected areas, a history curriculum that specializes in multiple perspectives is an effective tool for assisting with conflict resolution. The discussion of past conflict is important to all history curriculums. The problem that any history narrative falls into is the idea that there is “one history”. History is a compilation of different perspectives and ideas. Therefore, by teach a history from multiple different perspectives will help everyone to have a more holistic view of the conflict. It also decreases the marginalization of certain groups. They found that “hearing voices of the other side, as well as the voices of various actors and groups within each of the countries at the time of the conflicts advances understanding of the complexity of why conflicts happen and how they affect both sides involved” (USAID 2010, p.31)

Evaluation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in Serbia

by:
Kindyl Boyer
Post date: 03/21/2014

Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE) is an NGO that focuses on equality and the provision of aid to groups who often fall victim to discrimination, such as women. Therefore, they were a main player in the creation of Serbia’s action plan for implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 “Women, Peace, and Security” in 2010. Resolution 1325 called for a higher female participation in states’ security sectors and the protection of females during times of conflict against gender-based violence (“BFPE”). BFPE paired with Serbia’s Ministry of Defense (MO) to establish the state’s objectives and activities that would fulfill these objectives.

Collective Security Dialogue in the Balkans: The Belgrade Security Forum

by:
Ben Ford
Post date: 03/07/2014

The Belgrade Security Forum, a conference held annually in Belgrade, Serbia, seeks to promote regional security and reconciliation through dialogue and learning. The Forum is organized by three Serbian organizations: the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, and European Movement in Serbia. Its funding comes from a variety of private and governmental sources. Now in its third year, the Forum has attracted several hundred policymakers, scholars, government officials, and others to hear prominent speakers on topics of regional security. The conference aims to promote security dialogue and cooperation between states in the region. Additionally, the forum aims to consolidate security-sector reform as the Balkans moves from a security problem to a security partner. Common topics of discussion include collaborative security, energy security, the role of NATO and the European Union, gender in the security industry, and conflict reconciliation. In a world region that was dominated by conflict in recent years, collaborative security is a precious and necessary commodity.

Young Political Leaders of Serbia Project

by:
Retsy Holliday
Post date: 03/01/2014

In 2000, the Bulldozer Revolution and subsequent overthrow of President Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia created a window of opportunity for the reconstruction of Serbia’s government. After years of election fraud, tight media censorship and mistreatment of civilians, activists demanded a more democratic system and movement toward European integration. However, at the time, democratic political parties were too weak to gain the necessary votes to win office and form a stable government. Tension between democratically oriented political parties diminished the possibility of mutual party cooperation to form a joint government despite ideological similarities. The Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), a non-profit, non-partisan organization, emerged in Serbia in 2003 to reduce this tension between democratic parties.

The Coalition for a Clean Parliament – An Initiative of the Romanian Academic Society

by:
Ian T. Robertson
Post date: 03/01/2014

Implemented ahead of the 2004 local and national elections in Romania, the Coalition for a Clean Parliament (CCP) was a nationwide public advocacy and anticorruption project initiated by a non-government think tank, the Romanian Academic Society (SAR). Operating in association with eleven other Romanian non-governmental organizations, the CCP aimed to broadly address endemic issues of political corruption and unaccountability plaguing post-communist Romanian civil society. Bypassing weak anticorruption laws and inadequate government action, the CCP encompassed a widespread alliance of actors seeking to publicly expose and purge candidates for public office who did not “meet civil society’s criteria of moral integrity.” The project was achieved by 1) establishing criteria to test political candidates on their integrity and fitness for public office, 2) investigating the “public image” of major political party candidates for evidence of corrupt activity or behavior, 3) creating blacklists of corrupt candidates as per the established criteria and 4) revealing the blacklists of corrupt candidates in a mass advertizing campaign prior to Election Day.